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dec·​i·​mal ˈde-sə-məl How to pronounce decimal (audio)
: numbered or proceeding by tens:
: based on the number 10
especially : expressed in or utilizing a decimal system especially with a decimal point
: subdivided into 10th or 100th units
decimal coinage
ˈde-sə-mə-lē How to pronounce decimal (audio)


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: any real number expressed in base 10
especially : decimal fraction

Examples of decimal in a Sentence

Adjective In the number 8.901, the 9 is in the first decimal place. Noun The number 67.398 is a decimal. It is equal to the whole number 67 plus the decimal.398. Seven-tenths written as a decimal is .7. The decimal.2 is equal to the fraction 2/10.
Recent Examples on the Web
Their decimal expansions either terminate (−‍1/2 = −‍0.5) or eventually repeat (57/22 = 2.509090909…). Quanta Magazine, 27 June 2023 The decimal values of pi have no end and never repeat. Manon Bischoff, Scientific American, 24 Jan. 2024 An example of a rational approximation is the decimal approximation, which is the same as approximating the number using a fraction whose denominator is a power of 10. Quanta Magazine, 13 Dec. 2023 Indian mathematicians made additional algebraic discoveries and developed what are essentially the modern symbols for each of the decimal digits. Peter Schumer, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Aug. 2023 So while zero and one in the decimal number system correspond to zero and one in the binary number system, two in decimal is 10 in binary, three in decimal is 11 in binary, and four in decimal is 100 in binary. Charlotte Hu, Popular Science, 29 June 2023 For the unversed, classic minute repeaters chime the hour, quarter hours, and minutes, but the decimal variation strikes tones for the hours, the tens of minutes, and the single minutes. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 28 June 2023 Their decimal expansions extend infinitely and never repeat. George Johnson, Discover Magazine, 1 May 2013 The 2012 book Math Goes to the Movies points out a few huge goofs, including the title sequence’s misrepresentation of pi’s decimal expansion. WIRED, 14 Mar. 2023
Of course, that doesn't make their mating calls, which can produce sounds as high as least 90 decimals, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, any more pleasant to the human year. USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2024 Body fat percentage readings from the QardioBase X were within decimals of those from the Omron, while the Wyze Scale X was generally off by a percentage point or two for this metric. PCMAG, 6 Feb. 2024 This can be easily understood by simply moving the decimal in the above example. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 4 Dec. 2023 After a few minutes of bites and banter, Mr. Portnoy renders his verdict, on a scale from zero to 10 that includes decimals. Amelia Nierenberg, New York Times, 3 Oct. 2023 The Complex Universe Functions can only do so much when they’re defined in terms of the real numbers — values that can be expressed as a conventional decimal. Jordana Cepelewicz, Quanta Magazine, 21 Sep. 2023 One White girl quickly ran out of space: probability, exponents, integers, order of operations, volume, decimals, and on and on. Laura Meckler, Washington Post, 16 Aug. 2023 The Manthey Kit Porsche just announced for the 718 GT4 RS spits in the face of those decimals and takes full seconds away from the stock car's Nürburgring Nordschleife time, 6.179 seconds to be exact. Jack Fitzgerald, Car and Driver, 13 July 2023 Improvements at the race track are often measured in decimals. Jack Fitzgerald, Car and Driver, 13 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'decimal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



French décimal, from Medieval Latin decimalis of a tithe, from Latin decima tithe — more at dime

First Known Use


1608, in the meaning defined above


1651, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of decimal was in 1608

Dictionary Entries Near decimal

Cite this Entry

“Decimal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
dec·​i·​mal ˈdes-(ə-)məl How to pronounce decimal (audio)
: based on the number 10
especially : expressed in, used in, or using a number system with a base of 10 especially with the decimal point
a decimal system of writing numerals
¼ in decimal form is .25
: divided into 10th or 100th units
switched to a decimal money system


2 of 2 noun
: any real number expressed in base 10
: a fraction in which the denominator is a power of 10 and that is expressed in decimal form
the decimal .25 is equivalent to the common fraction ²⁵⁄₁₀₀

called also decimal fraction



derived from Latin decimalis "of a tenth part," from decimus "a tenth part," from decem "ten" — related to december, dime

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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